Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sometimes you've got to get a picture

I'm having a great time in Memphis.
That's me with my friend Patricia.
We've known each other since kindergarten.
You have to know someone really, really well before she will pose with you in front of the "Ram In The Bush Worship Center". 
See Genesis chapter 22:13 for some clarification.  
Or you can just keep giggling. 

On water leaks in bathtubs, as they relate to ObamaCare

I'm spending Thanksgiving in Memphis, Tennessee, with some high school friends of mine.  Because God loves us and wants us to be happy, we're crashing at the apartment of a surgeon who grew up with us in Mississippi. 
This loft apartment is near the river, has a pool table, a flatscreen that rivals the one Jerry Jones hung in the roof of his stadium, and a coffeemaker with more elaborate controls than a, well, a thing with lots of elaborate controls. 
I like it here. 
However, there is a water leak in the bathtub.  I said that our host's water bill is going to be $300.00 this month, and he better get it fixed before it gets worse.  (I speak from experience.)
One of my friends said "Oh, he doesn't have to pay the water bill.  It's included in the rent.  I'm sure he'll mention it to the landlord in a few months when it becomes a steady flow." 

And that is why socialism, outside of tight-knit family units, doesn't work. 

For the best thing ever written on this subject, go here. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

“Any man worth his salt would fight for his home but only a damn fool would fight for his boarding house.”
                                                                    -Mark Twain

Here's a story that I first heard in China several years ago, and I'm probably going to re-run this post about it every Thanksgiving until I die.  The best online account I've found is on the World Socialist Website (chuckle chuckle).  It's about some Chinese farmers who got tired of starving. 

On one night in Nov. 1978, 18 villagers of Xiaogang, including (leader) Yan Jinchang, risked their lives to sign secretly an agreement, which divided the then People's Commune-owned farmland into pieces for each family to cultivate.

This was a bold move, as it was seen as "capitalist" and might have led to severe punishment from the government at that time.

Thus, on that secret agreement covered with villagers' seals and red fingerprints, there was a wobbly line saying that "If any word about this is divulged and the team leader is put in prison, other team members shall share the responsibility to bring up his child till he (or she) is 18. "

The original copy of this agreement is now in a museum someplace in China.  It had a huge influence.  Instead of farming the land together, and putting up with slackers, loafers, regulatory parasites and the other inevitable Socialist baggage, this brave group of Chinese farmers decided that each family would be responsible for a certain section of the land. 

That clause about agreeing to care for each others' children was a simple insurance policy.  To the best of my knowledge, none of the farmers agreed to care for the families of those who didn't share their risks.  In other words, you couldn't waltz into the agreement AFTER losing your head of household.  There's not even a hint of Obamacare in this document. 

The facts proved that it's worthwhile to take the adventure. Allocating farmland to each household, also known as "household contract responsibility system", fired the locals' enthusiasm for agriculture production, which had been contained in the outmoded planned economy, and helped poverty-stricken locals out of starvation.

That's just what happened when they agreed to stop the collectivist nonsense.  Think of what could happen if they'd been allowed to own the land, instead of having it allocated to them by their "leaders".   

The grains that a local farmer turned over to the state in the following year almost totaled what he did in past two decades, recalled Yan Hongchang, one of the 18 Xiaogang villagers who initiated the contract system.

Their practice was later supported by Deng Xiaoping, chief architect of China's reform and opening-up drive, and recognized by the Chinese government. Xiaogang has since been labeled as the pace-setter of the nation's rural reform.

Here's a similar story, from the Volokh Conspiracy.  This one hits closer to home.

Many people believe that after suffering through a severe winter, the Pilgrims’ food shortages were resolved the following spring when the Native Americans taught them to plant corn and a Thanksgiving celebration resulted. In fact, the pilgrims continued to face chronic food shortages for three years until the harvest of 1623. Bad weather or lack of farming knowledge did not cause the pilgrims’ shortages. Bad economic incentives did.

Time to quote Thomas Sowell for the 10,000th time.  Laws and policies should never be evaluated by their stated goals and objectives, but by the incentives they create. 

In 1620 Plymouth Plantation was founded with a system of communal property rights. Food and supplies were held in common and then distributed based on equality and need as determined by Plantation officials.

Like we're about to do with healthcare. 

People received the same rations whether or not they contributed to producing the food, and residents were forbidden from producing their own food. Governor William Bradford, in his 1647 history, Of Plymouth Plantation, wrote that this system was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. The problem was that young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. Because of the poor incentives, little food was produced.

In other words, when the hardest-working, most creative Pilgrims realized that they were working themselves to death for people who didn't want to work as hard?  They started Going Galt.   

Faced with potential starvation in the spring of 1623, the colony decided to implement a new economic system. Every family was assigned a private parcel of land. They could then keep all they grew for themselves, but now they alone were responsible for feeding themselves. While not a complete private property system, the move away from communal ownership had dramatic results.

This change, Bradford wrote, had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. Giving people economic incentives changed their behavior. Once the new system of property rights was in place, the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability.

Once the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Plantation abandoned their communal economic system and adopted one with greater individual property rights, they never again faced the starvation and food shortages of the first three years. It was only after allowing greater property rights that they could feast without worrying that famine was just around the corner.

And what have we learned from this? 

Nothing.  Absolutely nothing. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Return Of The Son Of The Bride Of Climategate Part II: The Final Conflict (in 3D !!)

Dang it, if you're going to fleece the taxpayers, it's not smart to reveal how and why you're doing it. 

It seems that the ClimateGate Boys have been naughty.....

Here's James Delingpole of London's Telegraph:

Breaking news: two years after the Climategate, a further batch of emails has been leaked onto the internet by a person – or persons – unknown. And as before, they show the "scientists" at the heart of the Man-Made Global Warming industry in a most unflattering light. Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Ben Santer, Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, Keith Briffa – all your favourite Climategate characters are here, once again caught red-handed in a series of emails exaggerating the extent of Anthropogenic Global Warming, while privately admitting to one another that the evidence is nowhere near as a strong as they'd like it to be.

In other words, what these emails confirm is that the great man-made global warming scare is not about science but about political activism. This, it seems, is what motivated the whistleblower 'FOIA 2011' (or "thief", as the usual suspects at RealClimate will no doubt prefer to tar him or her) to go public.

I've only had time to browse through a few of these, and all I can say is Holy Shit !!!  What a bunch of phonies.  Publicists.  That's all they are.  A bunch of guys in lab coats massaging the data for the benefit of press releases.  Publicists. 

Here are a few random samples, culled from here and here and here and here.  Browse through this stuff when time permits.  I'm going to say it once more.  Holy Shit !!!!

&1939> Thorne/MetO:

Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical
troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a
wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the
uncertainty and be honest. Phil (Jones), hopefully we can find time to discuss these
further if necessary [...]

<3066> Thorne:

I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it
which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.

<1611> Carter:

It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much
talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by
a select core group.

<2884> Wigley:

Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive [...] there have been a number of
dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC [...]

<4755> Overpeck:

The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s
included and what is left out.

<2495> Humphrey/DEFRA:

I can’t overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a
message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their
story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made
to look foolish.
<0813> Fox/Environment Agency:

if we loose the chance to make climate change a reality to people in the
regions we will have missed a major trick in REGIS.

<1583> Wilson:

any method that incorporates all forms of uncertainty and error will
undoubtedly result in reconstructions with wider error bars than we currently
have. These many be more honest, but may not be too helpful for model
comparison attribution studies. We need to be careful with the wording I think.
<4165> Jones:

what he [Zwiers] has done comes to a different conclusion than Caspar and Gene!
I reckon this can be saved by careful wording.

<2440> Jones:

I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself
and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the
<2094> Briffa:

UEA does not hold the very vast majority of mine [potentially FOIable emails]
anyway which I copied onto private storage after the completion of the IPCC
<2459> Osborn:

Keith and I have just searched through our emails for anything containing
“David Holland”. Everything we found was cc’d to you and/or Dave Palmer, which
you’ll already have.
<1473> McGarvie/UEA Director of Faculty Administration:

As we are testing EIR with the other climate audit org request relating to
communications with other academic colleagues, I think that we would weaken
that case if we supplied the information in this case. So I would suggest that
we decline this one (at the very end of the time period)
<1577> Jones:

[FOI, temperature data]
Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we
get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US
Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original
station data.

Holy Shit, Holy Shit, Holy Shit.  That's all I'm gonna say.  Holy Shit !!!!!!!!!!
And here's more talk about hiding the decline.  Unbelievable. 

Yep, if you only show the peaks and not the valleys, the world looks like a very hot place. 
This is going to be a fascinating couple of weeks. 

Children: The Ultimate Renewable Military Resource !!

From Big Daddy John Spivey's Facebook page:

Hey GOP buddies! 6,327 US Soldiers dead;
22,490 US Soldiers Wounded;
$4 Trillion total price tag (just for the wars);
700+ International US Military Installations;
$711 Billion Defense Budget (2011)...
If you think we should or even CAN continue on this way, please don't vote for Ron Paul.
He's the only one with plans to completely reverse this.
I guess we can always have more kids and print more money!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Are you smarter than a Wall Street Occupier?

A representative of New York magazine ventured into Zuccotti Park to ask the Occupy Wall Street Protesters a few basic political and economic questions related to some of their demands.  Call it a civics test.   

Hit this link to take the test.  The pollsters have supplied you with helpful charts showing the answers given by the occupiers.  (heh heh heh....)  Hit the link beneath each chart to see the correct answer. 

(Obligatory chest-thumping.... I got 'em all right, including #8.) 

Please brag and boast about your scores in the comment field. 

Overseas correspondents may add 2 points to their total. 

The link and the pic came from Denny's site. 

James Hansen and the Corruption Of Science

From The Powerline Blog:

It recently came out that James Hansen, one of the two or three most prominent global warming alarmists on whose work the IPCC reports rest, “forgot” to report $1.6 million in outside income, as required by his government contracts. Is that significant? Well, yes: A handful of scientists, including Hansen, have gotten wealthy on climate alarmism. They have an enormous financial interest in the faux science they have done so much to perpetrate. It is more likely that the Pope would renounce Christianity than that Hansen, Michael Mann, etc., would change their minds about global warming, regardless of the evidence. (I say that because the Pope has far more intellectual integrity than the climate alarmists.)

IMHO, the Pope sometimes plays the same game.  More on that later. 

Beyond that handful of leading alarmists, if you are involved in any way in climate science, you have a financial interest in alarmism.

Ok, let's take a brief timeout here.  This is why there has been no need for a grand conspiracy of evil scientists working in a hollowed-out volcano.  I repeat: this is why there is no Global Warming Conspiracy.  Dump this many trillion dollars on the table, and the market will take care of the rest.  There are billions in it for everybody.  Except you, of course. 

Even minor climate scientists get consulting contracts and are invited to present papers in exotic locales. And if you are not an alarmist, you have little or no chance of cashing in on the billions of dollars in government grants for climate research.

Remember what happens to journal editors who allow heretical opinions into the AGW Liturgy?  They suddenly resign in disgrace. 

Essentially, the closed world of climate “science” has been bought and paid for, largely with our tax dollars. Under these circumstances, it is remarkable that so many real scientists have been willing to forgo financial advantage and blow the whistle on the alarmists’ frauds.

Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, comments:

NASA’s James Hansen is back in the news for two reasons. He has a new paper claiming that the Moscow heat wave during 2010 and the Texas heat wave during 2011 provide a form of statistical proof of global warming. The pause in warming must be justified somehow! The study was quickly refuted by several commentators, most devastatingly by Lubos Motl.

The second reason Hansen is in the news is that he failed to report some $1,600,000 of outside income over several years as required by his contract for government employment. Normally, TWTW would not bother with such, but this is an exception for a number of reasons. One, in 1988 with great publicity, Hansen announced with great certainty that global warming threatens humanity. Two, with great publicity, Hansen declared that President Bush was trying to muzzle him. And, three, he was cited as the scientific advisor of Al Gore’s scientifically disgraceful film. Apparently, Hansen believes that his celebrity status exempts him from the regulations that govern other government scientists.
We can’t say it enough: global warming alarmism is not science. It is politics at best, outright fraud at worst.

But in a way, it is beautiful. 
Sometimes I have to sit back and marvel at it. 
Weather/Climate/Rain/Cold/Heat have all fluctuated wildly for billions of years.  Primitive people have usually believed these changes were their fault, and made sacrifices to their gods to appease the clouds, the sun, the rain or the volcano. 
Priests of various species have usually been willing to take charge of these sacrifices in exchange for a percentage off the top.
And the weather just keeps on doing what it is gonna do.